Isabel Schneider and Teresa Mersmann, Anapa Open silver medallists in 2013 enjoyed the first day of the 2014 version by claiming two wins from two at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Anapa Open.
The German pair went through the day without dropping a set, having begun with a 2-0 (21-13, 21-9) win over Canada’s Victoria Cowley and Kerri Smit and then followed up with a 2-0 (21-14, 24-22) victory against Russia’s Anna Gorbunova and Ksenia Dabizha.
“It was a good start,” Schneider said. “I think we played well, but we had a tournament in Germany last weekend and it was very hard and so we are trying to improve in each match.
“It is hard to deal with the wind, but I think we will get better in every game.”
A year ago the pair lost in the final to local favourites Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova and Schneider also won the inaugural FIVB U23 World Championships, alongside Victoria Bieneck.
“I think the first match was the better one,” Messermann added. “I had some problems with my sideout game and I was a little bit surprised by the wind. I think I will be better prepared tomorrow.”
Also enjoying two wins on the opening day of the women’s main draw were Caleigh Whitaker and Kacie MacTavish.
The Canadian duo began with a 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-9) win over Olga Motrich and Yulia Abalakina of Russia and then followed up with a 2-0 (21-11, 21-14) victory over Ukraine’s Elizaveta Sulima and Dar'ya Udovenko.
It is a sign that they are continuing their good form from earlier in the season when they enjoyed their first ever top-10 World Tour finish at the Puerto Valletta Open in Mexico.
“We’re actually really happy with how we’re playing and hoping to keep it going,” Whitaker said.
“Our first one this morning was definitely tough as it was pretty windy, but we managed to pull through and are happy with the win and it was the same thing here. We’re hoping to keep it going.”
The double-gender US$150,000 FIVB Anapa Open in Russia runs from Tuesday, May 27 through to Sunday June 1 and the top three teams in each gender receive 250, 225 and 200 world ranking points. It is the fifth event and the fourth Open on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar, which features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.
The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Moscow Grand Slam which runs from June 11-15.